Far From the Madding Crowd; A Review
“Love is a possible strength in an actual weakness.”
Far From the Madding Crowd is a 2015 romantic movie adaptation of Tom Hardy’s 1874 novel. It starred Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts and directed by Thomas Vinterberg.The story is about a headstrong lady and how she dealt with three different suitors.
The story happened in the 1870 Dorset,Britain.
In the beginning, Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts) a neighboring farmer proposed marriage to Bathseba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) while she was working at her aunt’s farm. Considering herself too independent, she declined the offer. One night, an untrained shepherd drove Gabriel’s flock to the cliff and it left him desolate. He left his home in search of employment. On the other hand, Bathsheba inherits a property form his uncle so she left and took charge of it.
While at a fair for jobs, Gabriel met Fanny Robin whose sweetheart is a soldier named Troy. She suggested Gabriel to go to Weatherbury to apply for a job. He came upon a town where buildings and a barn was on fire. He stopped and helped save the barn. He was then introduced to the new mistress of the property who happened to be Bathsheba. She hired him as a shepherd. In the meantime, Fanny Robin went to the wrong church for her wedding to Troy that left the soldier devastated.
One day while trading her seeds, Bathsheba saw her prosperous but mature neighbor William Boldwood. As a joke, she sent her a Valentine card. William became intrigued and soon developed feelings for her. He proposed for marriage but Bathsheba delayed an answer. She was admonished by Gabriel for toying for William’s feelings. It angered Bathsheba and fired him. But the next day, a crisis hit the sheep that only Gabriel can fix, Bathsheba looked for him,apologized and persuaded him to go back.
During one of her night walks, she came upon Frank Troy who expressed admiration to her. With series of rendezvous from in the woods, Bathsheba fell for him. Gabriel warned her about him but she eloped with Troy and came back already married. During the wedding celebration, there was a huge storm. Gabriel went to save the harvest while the new husband showed no interest in farming whatsoever.
At a market, Troy saw Fanny, pregnant and has become a beggar. He asked her to go to the workhouse and he’ll take care of her and their baby from then on. But when she asked for Bathsheba some money, she declined due to his excessive gambling and disinterest in farm work.
Fanny died on childbirth on her way to the workhouse. Her coffin was delivered to Bathsheba’s property, being her previous employer. Gabriel tried to tamper the coffin bearing Fanny’s name and erased that of the baby. But one night, Bathsheba pried open the coffin and saw the two bodies. Troy then came back home and saw the coffin. He kissed Fanny on he lips and when Bathsheba protested, he declared that Fanny and the baby meant more to him than her even in their death. He left and everybody believed he drowned in the sea.
Left with huge debt, Bathsheba considered the offer of William to buy and merge their properties and offered marriage once again. On a party thrown by William, he talked to Gabriel and showed him the ring he plans to give to Bathsheba. However, Troy, alive and well, came back and imposing as her husband, demanded money from her. From rage, William shoot Troy dead. William was imprisoned for life.
Sometime later, after the farm seemed to be working well, Gabriel announced that he’ll be emigrating to America. On his way early in the morning, Bathsheba chased him on horseback and she thanked him for everything. Gabriel asked if he could propose again to which Bathsheba finally agreed.
The story addressed not only about love and marriage. It also depicted a woman in a man’s world and how to deal with it. Although confident and well-educated, Bathsheba was initially treated with scorn and condescension as the new mistress.
Another theme is the difference in social classes. Although both Gabriel and Bathsheba have education and experience, they were stereotypically considered as inferior in rank as to those from rural areas such as Troy, being a soldier and even the workers. People were treated according to where they were born instead of what they have become or accomplished.
But one of the Bathsheba’s weakness was her pride. She defies Gabriel’s advice in order to prove that she is capable and is in charge of her own self. However, she failed to see that Gabriel only meant well. She was overwhelmed by the attention she was getting and she let her emotion get the better of her. She failed to make a better judgment.
Gabriel is the symbol of a quiet observer and a keen audience. He relied to his own skills and refused to be overwhelmed by his new environment, rather, he adapted and blended well.
The movie showed a stereotypical setting of the old civilization but the narration was precise yet engaging. The characters delivered well and you’d almost believe they were living in the old English town.
Two main characters own similar objects; watches.
Gabriel’s watch is always falling from his pocket and the hour arm is loose and doesn’t always tell the accurate time. It is reminiscent of his willingness to work in difficult times and deal with circumstances that is beyond his control and to utilize what he is presented.
Troy owned an elegant and stylish watch but he was thoughtless and took it for granted as portrayed by his impulsive and childish behavior. It was shown when he mindlessly gave it to Bathsheba when he was proposing and admitted that he really hasn’t thought of a proper gift. Although it was luxurious, it didn’t mean anything good for her.
We are sometimes thoughtless and we seem to race against time all the time. We forget to look into ourselves, take a breath and enjoy the moment. Just like the title of the story, we should try to stay away from the frenzied crowd and just be ourselves.
So, which watch do wear?